About Cutaneous Lymphoma

THIS IS AN ANXIOUS TIME, BUT WE ARE HERE TO HELP.
The Cutaneous Lymphoma Foundation's CEO, Susan Thornton talks about what it is like to be diagnosed with cutaneous lymphoma and how the Foundation helps through its mission of promoting awareness and education, advancing patient care, and facilitating research.

Presenter
Susan Thornton, Cutaneous Lymphoma Foundation CEO

WHAT IS CUTANEOUS LYMPHOMA?

Cutaneous lymphomas are cancers of lymphocytes (a type of white blood cells) that primarily involve the skin. Cutaneous lymphomas are classified based on whether they are cancers of B-lymphocytes (B-cell) or T-lymphocytes (T-cell).

CUTANEOUS T-CELL LYMPHOMA (CTCL)

Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) is the most common type of cutaneous lymphoma, and typically presents with red, scaly patches or plaques on the skin. Itching is common, with less than 80% of people with CTCL reporting they have itch. CTCL often mimics eczema, psoriasis, or other chronic dermatitis, and because of this it’s common that the diagnosis of CTCL is delayed, sometimes by years or decades. Only a minority of people with CTCL develop advanced disease, with tumor formation, ulceration, involvement of lymph nodes, blood, and internal organs. Most people with CTCL have indolent (i.e. chronic, slowly growing) lymphomas – treatable, but not curable, and usually not life-threatening.

CUTANEOUS B-CELL LYMPHOMAS (CBCL)

Cutaneous B-cell lymphomas (CBCL) make up about 20-25% of all cutaneous lymphomas, and are cancers that develop from skin-based B-cells.  There are 3 main types of CBCL; primary cutaneous follicle center (“follicular”) lymphoma, primary cutaneous marginal zone (“MALT”) lymphoma, and primary cutaneous diffuse large B-cell (DLBCL, “leg type”) lymphoma. Primary cutaneous follicle center and primary cutaneous marginal zone lymphomas are the most common forms of CBCL, and are slow growing or indolent types that respond well to mild treatments. Systemic or nodal B-cell lymphomas can secondarily involve the skin, and when a skin biopsy shows B-cell lymphoma it is very important to make sure that the lymphoma is truly coming from the skin and not from a systemic lymphoma that has spread to the skin.  

For a more in depth overview, watch Cutaneous Lymphoma 101.

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WHAT TYPE OF CUTANEOUS LYMPHOMA DO I HAVE?

Cutaneous T-cell Lymphoma

CTCL stands for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, a rare cancer of T-lymphocytes (a type of white blood cells) that involves the skin. There are several types of CTCL, but mycosis fungoides and Sézary syndrome are the most common. We've provided an overview of the disease, treatment and prognosis.

Mycosis Fungoides

Mycosis fungoides is the most common form of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL). Mycosis fungoides” and “CTCL” are often used interchangeably, which is imprecise, as mycosis fungoides is just one type of CTCL. Learn more about how it is diagnosed, treated and its prognosis.

SÉZARY SYNDROME

The two most common types of cutaneous T-cell lymphomas are mycosis fungoides and Sézary syndrome. Learn how Sézary syndrome is diagnosed, its treatments and prognosis.

Primary Cutaneous B-cell Lymphoma

Primary cutaneous B-cell lymphomas (CBCLs) are a cutaneous lymphoma (a cancer of white blood cells) that affects B-cells in the skin. Learn more about the diagnosis, variants, treatment options and prognosis of CBCLs.

Lymphomatoid Papulosis

Lymphomatoid Papulosis (LyP) is a disorder of the immune system that manifests with self-healing small bumps and spots on the skin that come and go. Learn more about how LyP is diagnosed, treated and its prognosis.

PRIMARY CUTANEOUS ANAPLASTIC LARGE CELL LYMPHOMA

Primary cutaneous T-cell lymphomas (CTCL) are part of a group of rare non-Hodgkin lymphomas that arise from the T-cell type lymphocytes. Learn more about how it is diagnosed, the variants, treatments and prognosis.
THERE IS HOPE

Many effective treatment options exist for cutaneous lymphoma.  You and your health care team will determine the best course of treatment. 

The goal of treatment for cutaneous lymphoma is to control the disease and give you the best quality of life possible with your skin disease. Depending on your disease and stage, treatment options can include topical creams or ointments, phototherapy (light therapy), pills, infusion (intravenous) therapies, or radiation therapy. The purpose of treatment is to relieve symptoms such as pain, itching, burning, and redness; improve patches, plaques, or tumors to minimize the chance of infection; and reduce the number of abnormal T-lymphocytes in the blood (for Sézary syndrome).

Learn More About Treatment Options

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Related Research

Skin-Directed Tactics Optimal for Early Cutaneous Lymphoma

For patients with early-stage cutaneous lymphoma, skin-directed treatments, such as topical steroids and phototherapy, can slow or halt progression, but patients are also being treated with systemic therapies, according to the first-of-its kind research on this rare malignancy.

Modernizing Immunotherapy for Cutaneous T-cell Lymphoma

For decades, immunotherapy has been a cornerstone of systemic therapy for cutaneous T cell lymphoma (CTCL). It is therefore not surprising that modern immune-therapies, which target anti-tumor immunity in more sophisticated ways, have the potential to greatly improve our treatments for CTCL. 

Epigenetics & Biology of Cutaneous T-cell Lymphomas

These are exciting times in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) research. The hard work of laboratory and clinical investigators worldwide is starting to bear fruit, and a number of basic discoveries in the genetic and epigenetic foundations of CTCL are now being translated into novel therapies, with great impact for patients.